Heilemann's YMMV Law
I don’t remember my exact age, but I guess it must’ve been in my mid-teens when I first saw 2001: A Space Odyssey. Or that is, I saw some of it. I found it to be somewhat interesting due to the whole space-thing, but ultimately lacking in alien creatures and explosions.
A few years later I saw some of it again with Rikke and this time around it felt even longer and just mind bogglingly tiresome. I was a bit disappointed since I genuinely wanted to like this movie. Why people older than me hailed it as one of the greatest movies ever made I couldn’t quite understand, hadn’t these people bothered with watching Aliens!?
I forgot about it for a few years after that and went about my business. Until one day when I was vacationing in Denmark during my time studying in Scotland. Rikke had to go to some social thing and for some reason I had wanted to see 2001 for a few weeks so I took the chance and got the only copy the local Blockbuster had (I hope that you do not rent your movies at Blockbuster, a corporation that does little for your interests as a movie-fan through their right-wing censorship policies); a beat-up 4:3 VHS copy which flickered so much during the first 5 minutes that I almost gave up on it.
In the time since my last encounter with Kubrick and Clarke’s odyssey something must’ve opened up my eyes to new ways of taking in the movie, because this time around I was just awed.
I mean here was a movie that was – and still is I think – among the most boring movies ever made and it cracked my head open like cheap fortune cookie and started loading in thoughts and ideas that up until that point had been, I think, too abstract for me to really bother with. I mean a 3 hour movie where nothing happens; it just doesn’t seem plausible does it?! But instead of perceiving it as such I discovered the visual journey in it, the experience of it.
Where movies like Toy Story – bless it, I love it – speaks a language mostly everyone can somehow appreciate, 2001 is talking in a tongue that to most people – not on drugs – come off as an alien monotone indiscernible stream of non-sensible blabber.
That is until you allow yourself to experience the language without prejudice, without the preconceived ideas of what you like and don’t like and what a movie should or should not do.
When that happens it can be like a neuron-detonation inside your brain as the mind tries to deal with these new impressions, thoughts, concepts and interpretations. It’s exhilarating and you suddenly gain an insight into what you had been missing all along.
And this is my postulate, the whole point of why I have written this entry and why you are reading it: “Getting it” is a state of mind. Anyone can “get it” if they are willing to allow themselves the luxury of an open mind, but few are.
I said to Bjørn the other day something along the lines of this (paraphrasing): “I just cannot understand how anyone can not have their minds blown by Matrix Reloaded!” — Well now I can, and it saddens me that stuck-up pathetic shut-eyed people like this guy are allowed to review movies when he obviously isn’t ready to ‘free his mind’...
“We all see what we want to see. Coffey looks and he sees Russians. He sees hate and fear. You have to look with better eyes than that.”
Another thing happened when I was in my mid-teens. Pulp-Fiction and Reservoir Dogs came out. Tarantino made it big time and it seemed that everybody instantly “got it”. Except me. I just didn’t get a God damn thing. — Well today I’m going to see Kill Bill, and I hope to discover Tarantino for the first time. Hopefully I have been able to free my mind. Hopefully I will look with better eyes than that.
From now on this entry will be known as Heilemann’s YMMV Law
PS: This does not negate poor craftsmanship.